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College Acceleration: Innovating Through the…
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College Acceleration: Innovating Through the New American Research High…

by Eric J. Ban

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
A thick explanation of the role of Ban's new idea for school. As a professional educator, Ban enlightens the reader to the possibilities, potentialities and realities of a new structure for High Schools. This plan resurrects the American High School from a failed institution to a productive and accelerating force for American youth and education. ( )
  EThorelli | Aug 30, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Eric Ban's book is an interesting framework for how to plan any school, and how to improve any school to become a research-based, consistent and successful machine. I think it is a wonderful guide to educational leaders and teachers. Teachers do want to change their system, but rarely know how to make changes. Ban's approach to education is fresh, and comes from his track record of success.

One downside to this book is specifically that of Mr. Ban's positive attitude. It is difficult for most teachers to relate to his mindset. Teachers must find a connection to his "Can do!" attitude, and not begrudge that he is not, and has not been, a classroom teacher. He is an innovator, a leader, but has never experienced the difficulties within the classroom that make teachers pessimistic or just realistic. I find very little connection to the process of scaffolding for teachers who really don't know where to begin professionally developing.

It's difficult not to feel inferior to Mr. Ban. He begins his book with a preface, documenting his extremely successful professional life. This put me off, because I would like to understand the purpose of this book before I begin reading it. Though I admire his thought and experiences, his achievements seem to isolate, not connect, to a teacher's life. ( )
  krao | Aug 28, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Eric J. Ban approaches the restructuring of America's High School system in much the same way as many others have before him, namely Laurence Steinberg and his book Beyond the Classroom.* Both authors put major responsibility upon the parent's shoulders. Unlike Steinberg however, Ban does not bring race or ethnicity into the equation, which was a major focus of Steinberg's argument. The fact that Ban is dealing with suburban, middle-class school system's may have something to do with this. That said, the first two chapters read more like Ban's resume than a treatise on the American school system. He spends the first portion of the book going over his experience and accomplishments within the corporate world. This somewhat irked me at first, but soon I understood his aim, as he explained his transition from a business executive to a high school principle. Ban makes some powerful assertions concerning the decline of the American high school, and many of his points were quite salient. Prominent among them is the astute judgment that high schools were once geared towards preparing the top percentage of students for college, the average level students for mid-management and the rest for labor and manufacturing. What he points out is that the United States manufacturing and labor industry is a shadow of it's 1970s self, and that most High School student today need to attend some form of higher education institute in order to thrive in today's digital world. He suggests that schools should focus their curriculum towards their respective region's industry, and prepare students accordingly. He suggests new innovations in the structure of High Schools, a new paradigm if you will, which transforms schools into college preparatory institutions, stressing a strategy which concentrates on research skills, sciences and a more rigorous learning curve. Above all, Ban also stresses the utmost importance of engagement at every level, particularly parents. If you are an educator, or a school system administrator, I would suggest reading this book, there are many excellent ideas. Whether they are feasible or not, only time will tell.

* Steinberg, Laurence. "Beyond the Classroom-Why School Reform has failed and What Parents Need to Do." Touchstone.1996 ( )
  Archivist13 | Aug 6, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
.

I started reading this book right after I received it (as part of the ER program) and tried not to let any other book interrupt my reading of it. Why? Because reading this book is a miserable experience and I knew if I stopped I might not finish. Which was a shame because there's some good stuff in it.

But another book did interrupt. Then another. And another. And while I hope to finish it someday, I have to accept the very real possibility I man not.

The primary purpose of this book is the allow the author a goodly number of pages in which to talk about how awesome he is. That's at least 60-70% of the book. Another 10-20% is engaged in stating the obvious. The remaining moments, here and there, are spent in engaging in a real and useful way with the current American educational system. He makes some useful suggestions and, in between bouts of self-aggrandizement, discusses how he's attempted implementation of his proposals in the high school he is principal of.

I found it hard to read the book without being constantly aware that it was an advertisement for the author's soon-to-be-available consulting service.

The thing is, if he had spent more time discussing novel solutions and less time discussing himself, I might have been a buyer.
1 vote thmazing | Jul 27, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As a high school teacher, I looked forward to reading this book as the presume, high schools students doing college level work for college credit, sound great. Unfortunately, the book fell way short of my expectations.

The big problem is what the point of the book is. It claimed to be a documented account of a high school who went from someplace in the educational spectra (never told whether it was good or bad school to begin with) to stunning results, but it also said the book would not be a how to guide. There are no footnotes, not facts and figures, to document this turn around. On page 24, the author states, "by no means is this book an implementation guide for American high schools."

So why write the book?

Well, the first half of the book is a sales pitch, pure and simple. He uses all kinds of emotionally charged phrases -- hunters vs. gatherers, high schools are irrelevant, etc., to amp up his message. At some point, I am willing to bet this author will give up being a principal and start consulting with out high schools. Hopefully his presentations will be better than his writing because not only is there a different analogy in every paragraph, he would fail any high school writing class for is incomplete sentences and lack of subject/verb agreement.

Had I not felt obligated to read the entire book, I would have stopped after chapter 2 of this sales pitch.

The book does have some interesting ideas towards the end. He shows in the most general diagrams how students are transitioned from middle to high school His outline of the school's changes would be a start for a discussion. There is still no practical advice and the reliance on ACT seems a bit too cozy. I also found his modeling of creating a research high school based on research hospitals to be interesting, since American medicine is as dysfunctional as American education.

This is a book that should have been edited both for grammar and for content. Read with caution! ( )
1 vote LMHTWB | Jun 22, 2012 |
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Book description
College Acceleration draws a new conceptualization for high schools from the powerful nexus of research and practice found in the best research hospitals in the country. This new idea is applied to a new set of expectations for the twenty-first century high school where all students are prepared for college and careers. Dr. Ban details some key insights, like how to develop a system of innovations, build state university relationships for college programming that is affordable, accountable, and offers a pragmatic approach to high school strategic planning.
Dr. Ban’s experience in an educational business incubator and university faculty has provided powerful tools and understandings to support his current work as a high school principal. This front line experience with high school transformation has helped to detail this new research paradigm for high school from a practitioner's perspective. This book will give educators working within the charged climate of national standards and accountability for high school tools for transforming schools for the new century. The book includes reflections and questions for educators
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College Acceleration draws a new conceptualization for high schools from the powerful nexus of research and practice found in the best research hospitals in the country. This new idea is applied to a new set of expectations for the twenty-first century high school where all students are prepared for college and careers. Dr. Ban details some key insights, like how to develop a system of innovations, build state university relationships for college programming that is affordable and accountable, and offers a pragmatic approach to high school strategic planning. Dr. Ban's experien.… (more)

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